Between two sides

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Now is the winter of our discontent, well let’s hope not. There did seem to be a bit of an over-reaction in some quarters to Saturday’s result, mainly on the internet – where else? I have concerns myself, hopefully of a more measured variety but first I think there is a fairly simple equation to solve in relation to how things go over the next few months.

 
If we win on Thursday then we may well qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League. That to me would be Owen Coyle’s achievement and one that he would deserve the plaudits and considerable goodwill from the fans for. With that in the bag, it would also enable him to focus on sorting the league form out between now and February and of course continue to overhaul the squad in the transfer window. Even the biggest teams struggle to fight a campaign on more than one front so for me the disjointed performances in the league are kind of excusable.
 
As for where we are, well going off the past few games we seem to be a “team of two halves” right now. I could even liken it to a pantomime horse with it nearly being that time of year.
 
The back half is generally steady and sure footed. Lee Nicholls has been the star of the show since taking over from Carson in nets but Coyle has also brought in a good calibre of defenders who are generally keeping their end of the bargain by keeping the goals against column nice and low.
 
Alas, that’s the good stuff over. We have a midfield that is one of the strongest in the division but just isn’t being used effectively, we seem caught between two styles – which may be a potent reason. Up front we have two forwards who are certainly still capable of doing a job but are both perhaps reaching the twilight of their careers and struggling for fitness and form.
 
I don’t have the solutions here as I’m not a manager but it does feel like going forward we could be so much better and our “goals for” tally is bottom six form. So in conclusion, the much vaunted possession in midfield is merely a nice to have, it is critical in the coming months that the goals start to flow a bit more freely. Then the mood will undoubtedly become a bit more positive again. Well you’d hope so anyway!
 
First published in the Wigan Evening Post 12th Man column Wednesday 27th November 2013

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